How to take advantage of Pay-per-click

By Bob Schwartz, CRS, GRI ©2007 Promotions Unlimited  All rights reserved.

This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.  

A Pay Per Click (also known as Pay Per Ranking, Pay Per Placement or Pay Per Position) search engine lets you to list your firm’s site at the top of the search engine results. You pay only when a web searcher clicks on your listing and connects to your site. You don’t pay to list; you only pay for click throughs.

You list your website by selecting keywords that refer to your practice area. For each keyword you determine how much you are willing to spend. The higher you bid, the higher you will appear in the search results.

PPC search engines usually combine paid listings with unpaid listings to ensure any given search produces sufficient results. In an effort to provide proper disclosure, all PPC search engines differentiate their paid listings from the ‘real’ non-pay listings by calling the PPC listing such terms as: featured listings, sponsored listings, partners etc. Some smaller PPC engines do not have this differentiation because 100% of their results are paid.

The perception many have is that PPC search engines are a great way to drive targeted traffic to your site because you only pay for actual clicks to your site, and that it is risk free and a cheaper alternative to hiring a search engine optimization firm to gain top placements with the bigger search engines.

But be careful . . . all may not be, as it seems!

Bid prices … (cost per click), increase as firms believe in this method to increase Internet business. You can see below, there are examples of the bid cost per click to be in that top position of a major PPC engine.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney - $15.14

Los Angeles DUI attorney - $42.25

Los Angeles accident attorney - $10.00

San Francisco accident attorney - $26.00

San Francisco personal injury attorney - $20.00

Houston personal injury attorney - $8.00

Houston accident attorney - $6.10

Las Vegas defense lawyer - $5.00

Rates like these and the typical click-through conversion rate could cost you a lot in new client acquisition costs.

CLICK TRAFFIC … It seems that ad click traffic is continuing to grow, but fewer visitors are clicking through to either take some kind of meaningful action, or actually transact business. In other words, clicks are increasing, but conversion percentages are declining.

RIPOFFS … The consensus among knowledge webmasters is that the PPC affiliate programs are to blame for this: PPC search engines pay webmasters for hosting their paid ads and/or providing search results that link through their PPC network. It seems some affiliates may be artificially boosting their PPC hits in order to increase their share of the paid click-through revenue.

Supposedly the PPC engines have technology to detect this fraud, but Internet ads advertise recruiting people to surf the Web and click on ads using their own computer. Having all the different IP addresses and a network of such scammers, it is an impossible task to regulate the rip-off click-throughs.

CONVERSION RATES … For legal firms it has always taken a large number of click-troughs to actually convert into a paying client. Now combine this with the above trend in scam click-troughs and the cost effectiveness of the PPC model for legal firms may not be the panacea once believed.

Copyright 2007 Promotions Unlimited. All rights reserved.


Bob Schwartz, is the founder of Promotions Unlimited, an Internet legal directory (CA, TX & Las Vegas ) publisher and search engine placement technology analyst.  You can contact Bob via e-mail at or visit his San Diego legal directory at:



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